This story has been updated with a quote from the agent of Billy Kametz.
The death of Billy Kametz on June 9 has received international attention in recognition of the voice actor’s work on anime shows and video games.
Kametz died at Hershey Medical Center, having announced in a late April video that he would be taking a break from his career after being diagnosed with late-stage colon cancer.
Kametz, 35, has been lauded for his work as a voice actor on the English-language versions of dozens of Japanese-style shows and video games.
These included the anime series “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure,” “Attack on Titan,” and “Neon Genesis Evangelion,” among other popular franchises. Kametz’s video game voice-overs included the hit titles “Persona 5 Royal,” “Fire Emblem: Three Houses,” and the “Pokemon” series, among other publications.
His performance as Naofumi Iwatani in “The Rising of the Shield Hero” earned him the top acting award in 2019 from Crunchyroll, a film distributor and streaming service for Japanese animation shows.
In an April video on his YouTube channel, Kametz told fans he would be moving from California to Pennsylvania to be closer to family while undergoing treatment at Hershey Medical Center for colon cancer, which was also affecting his liver, lungs, and spine. Kametz said at that time that he had already undergone radiation to shrink a mass on his spine.
A. Jinnie McManus, Kametz’s agent, said Sunday night that “Billy lived his dream as a fan of Japanese animation and video games who grew up to act in beloved roles that will now stand forever as his legacy. At conventions, he was a popular guest who cherished meeting his fans. After all, he was once one of them. Even during the worst of his illness, he remained upbeat and determined. The world is darker without him and I will miss my friend terribly.”
Born in Lancaster and raised in the Hershey area, Kametz’s career took off in 2016 when he took the role of Aladdin in a Broadway-style musical at Disneyland, having previously worked as a cruise performer on Disney lines.
Following the announcement of his death, tributes began to roll in through various anime and gaming websites as well as through the social media of his talent agent, Point of Contact Bookingwhich reminded fans that “you are part of his legacy and he would want to know you’re going to be okay.”
In his April video, Kametz said he was stepping away from several projects due to his illness, and asked “if you guys could do me a favor, anybody that is replacing me on any show if you could just please – it’s such a weird thing for an actor to have to do – if you just support the crap out of them and be their biggest cheerleader, that would make me really, really happy.”
A GoFundMe campaign organized by Kametz’s agent for his treatment and funeral costs has raised over $184,000 as of Sunday afternoon. Kametz’s family is also asking that donations in lieu of flowers be made to the Colon Cancer Coalition.
Kametz is survived by his parents, William and Cheryl, sister Nikki Kametz Lees, and other family members, as well as his girlfriend and fellow popular anime and video game voice actress Erica Lindbeck.
“Anyone who has met Billy will tell you he is one of the most sincere, humble and loving people they have ever met,” the family wrote in his obituary. “His infectious personality and smile always lit up a room with so much joy and happiness. Billy always left a positive impression on anyone he came in contact with. His love for his family, friends and girlfriend was always most important to him and that love will carry on forever.”
A viewing is planned Wednesday evening and a Mass of Christian Burial will take place on June 18, his obituary said.
PennLive writer Zahriah Balentine contributed to the story.